Settlement of a lawsuit that threatened the Sunset Hall retirement home has rekindled activism among residents of the facility that has been home to socialists, radicals, communists and liberal religious activists.

Residents celebrated with champagne and shortcake Thursday to mark their victory over a developer who wanted to buy the property.Some of the home's directors agreed in the fall of 1989 to close the 36-bed Sunset Hall and relocate the residents. The directors said the home was losing money and financial reserves were nearly exhausted.

Residents protested and the offending directors were replaced.

Private developer Joseph Cofre filed suit, accusing the Sunset Hall board of reneging on a deal to sell the property for $1.2 million.

In a March 13 settlement in Superior Court, Cofre agreed to end his suit in return for a promise occupants wouldn't ask for lawyers' fees.